header photo - Interview with valentina ring

The Stars Inside | Wedding Planner

Elopements and intimate celebrations are her speciality. I am so happy to introduce Valentina from The Stars Inside, one of the best wedding planners in the industry, I have had the honour of working with Valentina several times, and I have to say each and every project she touches is exquisite! Not only is her work amazing but she offers the best support and advice for couples and suppliers alike.  Valentina is well -known for her expertise and is regularly featured within the wedding industry.

The images of the work seen on todays blog are from projects we have been part of together, and we have many more in the pipeline. It was an honour to interview Valentina, and I wanted to share what she said with you.

Valentina Ring Profile

Hello Valentina,
welcome and thank you for being a guest on the blog.

Please tell me how you began your journey into the wedding planning world?

My journey to the wedding and events industry was a very organic one – I hadn’t actually planned for this career, as you’ll discover with my answer to the next question, hehe! My husband and I had the great joy and pleasure of working with a wedding planner for our own wedding, and I absolutely loved what she did for us. She helped us through so many difficulties, and truly made it so we could enjoy and embrace the time we had, which was invaluable. Her and I became friends and got to know each other quite well, and she was actually the one who first suggested I consider starting a business as a wedding planner. I remember so vividly the way that felt – it was like everything just clicked! She was our rock throughout the whole wedding planning journey, and I wanted to be that person for other people. I loved the idea of supporting couples through this joyous and momentous period of their lives, helping them grow stronger together, and also putting all my creative and analytical skills to use at the same time to bring to life new experiences. I couldn’t stop thinking about it… I was so scared and so excited at the same time, which is how I knew this was something special. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to explore this new path, and I can’t imagine it any other way now!

Had you done anything before moving into the wedding industry?

Santorini Under The Stars

Yes! How much time do you have…? Hehe! I started off my adult life as a researcher in astrophysics and observational cosmology (I did a masters in Physics & Astrophysics at university), then trained at a circus school and performed as a trapeze artist, then I joined a big American investment bank and traded stocks, and now – I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, with (I hope) a unique outlook and combination of skills to serve my couples and my suppliers as best I can.

What fuels your passion for wedding planning?

My relationship with my couples is at the very heart of the work I do, every single day – I’m constantly inspired and motivated by their dreams, their trust, and their stories, and it means so much to me to be invited to be a part of that. It’s an honour that I take very seriously, which is why I treat every wedding or elopement with utmost dedication and care. The calibre and authenticity of the client experience is my number one priority, always – which motivates me to only take a limited number of wedding partnerships per year, to afford them the attention they deserve. I feel very strongly about never delivering anything less than the absolute best I can do, regardless of who is watching or what will be noticed 🙂

What would you say is your signature style, and how you have developed your style along the way?

My style has developed by continuing to follow the compass of my excitement and joy – I have a very wholehearted and enthusiastic approach to my work, from the smallest little detail to the most overarching story. My weddings don’t tend to fit into one box or style; my hope and goal is for them to have a signature thread of storytelling and creativity. What I find most rewarding is taking the seed of an idea and developing it over time alongside my couples in a heartfelt way; I treat wedding design as a collaboration where we unlock their style together, and fill in the details of their original vision until it’s the most awesome it can be. I want them to feel like their venue was made for them, and that their wedding couldn’t have been any other way.

Natural Tone Stationary. Flatlay. Barn Wedding

What colour palettes do you love?

It may seem like I’m avoiding answering your questions, but I promise I’m not! Much like the style question, I would say I don’t have a signature palette – I love the challenge of working with new combinations, and embracing whichever corner of the colour wheel couples most resonate with. I work closely with them to modernise, freshen, and enhance their favourite colours in a cohesive and tasteful way. My own personal spaces (and wardrobe!) tend to be populated with muted and earthy colours, and lots of grey and black too! I’ve also recently discovered a love for pink that I didn’t even know about – it’s like I’m catching up for all the years I missed out as a little girl!

What do you love most about your job?

Barn Wedding - table setup

Being a wedding planner and a stylist means something different every single day – each wedding and each couple is different, which I love! The multi-faceted nature of the job also comes from the breadth of the skills we need and responsibilities we have: on any given day I might be writing advice pieces, designing visual moodboards, sourcing or physically making bespoke props, learning about marketing or financing or contract law, puzzling schedules, itineraries, or floorplans, researching or networking with amazing wedding professionals (like you!), collaborating on creative work, travelling around the world, and so much more (spanning the whole spectrum of distinctly unglamorous to totally dreamy). I’m not sugarcoating it though, it’s the hardest and longest hours I’ve ever worked – but it’s also the happiest and most fulfilled I’ve ever been. What I always love most about my job are the relationships I build with amazing humans: the couples who trust me with their celebrations, and the suppliers I partner with to make it all happen. The happy, tired smiles at the end of the day stay with me forever ♡

Can you tell me about your process and how you help brides and grooms plan their special day?

Sure! The key for me is always to adapt to each couple’s planning style: I give them the level of control and involvement they want, so they can do more of what they love and less of what causes them any stress or anxiety. My goal is to get to know them really well so I can support them where they need me, guide them on the elements they want to do themselves, and just generally be there as an expert they can rely on at any time. The process starts with a consultation, which is then followed by many more in depth emails, video calls, and in-person coffee meetings to find out what stage of planning they’re at, what their vision is, and what they’re looking for in their planning partner. Together we assemble a dream team of venues and suppliers, which I shortlist for them one by one; we create a design concept, either starting from scratch or refining the ideas they already have; and then handle every logistical checkpoint together. I give them access to tools, templates, and a comprehensive project management platform where we share lists and notes on every wedding element. I liaise with all their suppliers, gather quotes, check contracts, and so on, with the aim or pre-empting issues and finding solutions, so they don’t have to. We keep in touch over email, phone, video calls, Whatsapp, and face-to-face meetings so that they can always bounce ideas off me – I encourage them to be open and honest with me always, and to approach planning with the style and pace that feels right for them. My process is more about being mindful and intentional about planning than it is about ticking boxes and sticking to the rules 🙂

Together In Grace

Describe your dream wedding to plan?

Oh, that’s an exciting question! I’ve naturally been specialising more in intimate weddings, micro weddings, and elopements – as those are the couples that most often tend to resonate with the values of intentionality, meaningful luxury, and attention to detail that I talk about so passionately in my messaging.   But honestly it’s not about the size of the guest list – it’s more about how the couple are approaching this chapter of their lives, and the quality of the experience they want to create for themselves and their loved ones. I do also adore travel, which means many of the couples that come my way do too! Most of my weddings are “destination weddings” in some way: either couples that live abroad coming to the UK to celebrate, or UK couples looking to have an adventure in a breathtaking location somewhere around the world.

Do you have different levels of packages / how much support do you like to offer your clients?

Santorini Under The Stars - table decor

Yes! But I try not to use the word “package” as it feels a bit too prescriptive for the fluid, bespoke partnership I aim to offer to my couples. On my website I describe three different services: a full wedding planning and styling service, an elopement planning and styling service, and a styling and coordination service. But those are just starting points to the conversation, and can be totally tailored. In essence, I can do everything from fully planning and styling every single element of their wedding or elopement, to just supporting them remotely and/or showing up on the day to coordinate everything they’ve planned and styled themselves – and everything in between. Having said that, my favourite way of working with couples is to join them as early as possible in their planning journey, so we can get to know each other really well and so that I can be there for them in the most comprehensive way.

champagne for together in grace

What questions should your clients be asking you before booking your services?

I’d say the most important thing is affinity of personality – which is why I talk so openly about my values and processes on my website and social media. I believe a couple’s relationship to their planner should be one of complete openness and total trust; so I encourage my couples to ask whatever questions they wish to be able to feel that way. Some couples ask about the details of the planning process, some ask about my previous experiences with similar weddings, some ask about how I help them find the best suppliers, some ask how I can help them as their stylist, some ask advice on current issues or dilemmas they’re facing to hear my opinion, and some just ask personal questions – which is fine too! No question is too big or too small. Ideally, you should try to come out of that first consultation with a strong feeling of whether you’ve “clicked” with that planner; you’ll be chatting almost every day so make sure it’s someone you enjoy speaking to!

Do you have any tips for couples getting married and planning their weddings?

I have SO MANY! But honestly the single most important advice I can give is to take your time and be purposeful when it comes to choosing what to invest in. Those lifelong memories will be most meaningful and full of joy, for both you and your guests, if you embrace telling YOUR story in whichever way is right for you. Try to gently let go of any preconceptions, expectations, or pressure you’re feeling, and be really honest with yourself and with each other about what matters the most to you. Being clear on these priorities will make budgeting, communicating, and making decisions easier and more fun, and will also allow you to be more present on the day itself.

Whose wedding (can be anyone, celebrity- past, present or future) would you love to plan a wedding for?

I have an immense crush on Angelina Jolie – her sophistication and her grit are just EVERYTHING! I love the way she stands for things she believes in, the class with which she holds herself, and her style is to die for too. LOVE.

What is your hair and makeup style? Natural / Glam etc.

I actually don’t wear much make-up generally, even when I’m dressing up! My must-haves are flicked, feline, precise black eyeliner and black eye pencil – but the rest is quite natural, with just a little bit of sparkle. I’ve been trying to get into lipstick lately but I’m still learning!

Santorini Under The Stars - bride and groom
Santorini Under The Stars - wedding invite

All images taken by Rebecca Carpenter Photography, Styling by The Stars Inside and all hair and makeup by Storme Makeup and Hair

 

How can couples find you to book you for their wedding?

The best places to connect with me and start getting to know me would be my website and my Instagram profile. You can always reach me at my email address too, at valentina@thestarsinside.com. If you’d like to find out more about me and what I do, I would LOVE to hear from you!

What projects do you have coming up that you are excited about?

I am SUPER excited about how much travelling I’ll be doing once it’s safe to do so! I have projects and weddings taking me to Turkey, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Greece, New York, Scandinavia, Spain, and as far away as Namibia!

I hope this interview has been fun to read and perhaps informed you on a bit more about the wedding planning process and how they are there to help. If you are in need of some support with planning your dream day, I 100% recommend The Stars Inside! 

Please follow Valentina | The Stars Inside on Instagram , Facebook and Pinterest to see her latest work.

For all your hair and makeup needs please do not hesitate to get in touch, I would love to help!
Yours,
Storme x

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